Magazine article Europe-East

Eu/fyrom : Meps Push for Opening Accession Talks with Skopje in Early 2010

Magazine article Europe-East

Eu/fyrom : Meps Push for Opening Accession Talks with Skopje in Early 2010

Article excerpt

The European Parliament has called on the member states to give the green light, at the March EU summit, to the opening of accession negotiations with the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM). The majority of MEPs believe that Skopje's EU bid can not be held hostage any longer to the country's name spat with Greece. They also back the Greek government's suggestion for a "symbolic and motivational target date of 2014" for the Western Balkan countries' EU accession. A resolution to this effect, drafted by Zoran Thaler (S&D, Sovenia), was adopted, on 10 February, by 548 votes in favour, 45 against and 35 abstentions.

"We hope that the March EU summit will confirm the start of negotiations. The EU needs to honour its commitments and encourage the country to comply with European principles and values," said Thaler.

Due to reservations expressed by Greece with regard to its long-standing dispute with the FYROM on the name issue', the EU's leaders postponed, in December 2009, their decision on the opening of accession talks with Skopje until their March 2010 summit. By putting off the start of talks, the EU's leaders disregarded the European Commission's opinion. In mid-October, the EU executive recommended the launch of talks with the FYROM, noting that "the country meets sufficiently the political criteria set by the Copenhagen European Council in 1993". The Commission qualifies the name dispute as a bilateral issue, irrelevant with regard to Skopje's readiness to start accession talks. …

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